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Material handling systems need upgrade

Posted: 24 Mar 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Manufacturing? material handling systems?

The electronics industry has been a fast-paced business for years. Demands from customers require manufacturers to provide high quality products, quick and easy information flow, and fast materials movement. Thus, it worries them if the equipment in the average manufacturing facility is always up to the task.

At many manufacturing plants, the material handling systems are ancient by technology standards, a new survey by Tompkins Supply Chain Consortium found. The survey, which polled retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and third-party logistics firms, reported that the average age of a material handling system is 15.3 years old.

The problem is ubiquitous. More than one-third (35 per cent) report that at least one of the organisation's material handling systems is more than two decades old. As an average, companies have 2.7 distribution centres with a materials handling system that is 15 years old. "These statistics indicate that many of today's material handling systems have considerable age to them and they may be a source of operational concern going forward," the report said.

Older systems are more likely to break down, causing organisations to lose productivity and incur costs. "It's scary the number of times I have visited distribution centres and have found maintenance managers piecing together equipment to keep it working," said Dale Pickett, director of supply chain services, Tompkins International, in a written statement.

The infographic below highlights some of the findings of the study. Take a look and compare with how the materials handling systems you use are holding up. How do you assess when the equipment needs to be replaced or upgraded?

Tompkins survey

- Hailey Lynne McKeefry

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